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Dedicated to Teachers

Developing Thinking Intensive Learning – Within a Lesson, Across a Lesson, and Over Time


In this video blog, authors Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis share how The Comprehension Toolkit helps to show evidence of developing students’ thinking over time.


A Quick Summary of How The Comprehension Toolkit Supports Teachers with Student Assessment:

Assessment is ongoing in Toolkit. At the end of each lesson, there are several pages of kids’ responses—created as they worked collaboratively or independently on the strategy introduced in the lesson. Also included are a wide range of responses to demonstrate that kids of all ages can notice new learning, ask questions, or infer meaning from a picture. Children are at varying levels of development and at varying levels on the continuum of learning to read and write, so their responses do and will vary.

The “Goals and Assessment” section at the beginning of each lesson lists exactly what students should be able to do after instruction. This same listing, turned into questions to prompt reflection about what students learned, appears in the “Reflect and Assess” section at the end of each lesson.

In the “Reflect and Assess” section of each lesson, the authors weigh in with their comments about each student’s work, to share what they understand about kids’ thinking and how well they understand the lesson. Often the authors suggest a focus for a follow-up conference with the student and where they would go next to support the child in his or her learning journey.

In “Adapt and Differentiate,” which directly follows “Reflect and Assess,” the authors share the grade level of the lesson taught and suggest ways to differentiate the lesson for different age groups and learning styles.

From assessment to evaluation

The authors distinguish assessment from evaluation. Assessment informs teachers of what kids can do at a moment in time, tells about past instruction, and informs future instruction. Grades are all about evaluating what kids have learned through practice.  The authors suggest to evaluate and give grades only after students have had plenty of time to practice and internalize the reading and thinking strategies they are working on. When the authors give a grade, they use a substantial body of evidence that stands as proof of kids’ learning. The work samples, drawings, student talk, responses, and artifacts that demonstrate kids’ learning during ongoing assessment are the very same evidence used in evaluation.

In Toolkit, the authors model how to use “annotated rubrics” that support authentic assessment and frame the approach to evaluation. The rubrics enable educators to move from ongoing assessment to a more formal evaluation of students’ understanding. They are a place to collect and summarize data from ongoing assessment. The authors illustrate how to put the information about kids’ work and understanding on the rubric, in order to more easily give a grade. As teachers fill in the rubrics, they use evidence of students’ thinking to assign a point value to each reading behavior that was taught. Again, it is important to grade only what has been taught and what kids have practiced extensively.

To keep a lasting record of student thinking, the authors provide suggestions on how to jot notes on the rubric and often staple student work to the form. The rubric numbers don’t stand-alone -- they mean very little without supporting evidence of student work and teacher comments.

The Comprehension Toolkit Series from Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis has all of the language, teaching moves, and re-usable resources to build students’ reading comprehension in ways that are visible and audible.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Anne Goudvis and Stephanie Harvey have enjoyed a fifteen-year collaboration in education as authors and staff developers. They are coauthors of Heinemann’s curricular resource series The Comprehension Toolkit.

Topics: Video, Content Lessons, Content Matters, Engagement, Knowledge, Anne Goudvis, Collaboration, Comprehension, Comprehension Toolkit, Content Literacy, Elementary, High School, Middle School, Nonfiction, Social Studies, Stephanie Harvey, Toolkit

Date Published: 02/16/16

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